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Study shows most Kenyans loathe sex talk shows as crackdown begins

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By Jeckonia Otieno and Lee Mwiti | Jun 15th 2016 | 2 min read

A majority of Kenyans find content aired on local television and radio stations offensive, a new study has said.

According to the survey commissioned by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), seven out of 10 respondents are uncomfortable with the content.

Sex talk shows during the day as well as violence and use of coarse language on radio and television contributed massively to the disapproval.

The study released yesterday consequently lays the ground for the communications regulator to crack down on broadcasters in a bid to protect children.

At least three-quarters of the respondents cited content on radio as offensive. Footage of violence on TV got 68 per cent disapproval, while ‘bullying’ of the audience on air had 65 per cent.

The study comes just days before the July 1 deadline by which broadcasters must comply with a new programming code that should guide what should be aired on Free-To-Air (FTA) stations.

The code demands that at least 60 per cent of all programmes that a media house airs must be local. Those who fail to comply risk fines of up to Sh20 million.

Respondents also said they are concerned that use of strong language, swearing, explicit sexual content will have a negative effect on their children’s morality and growth.

Other than reflecting the society, respondents want the media to also play an important role in ‘setting standards’ for the same society.

“Use of offensive language before children sets a bad example and denotes lack of respect,” says the research conducted by Momentrum Consulting Africa.

CA Director General Francis Wangusi said media houses that fail to comply with the programming code may also lose their licences.

The code bans sex talk and airing of explicit or violent content during the watershed period, between 5am and 10pm.

In a statement read on his behalf by CA’s head of legal John Omo during a forum for communications stakeholders, Wangusi said there was no going back on the new regulations.

“The grace period agreed upon comes to an end in June then we will enforce the code,” he said.

The study also comes against a backdrop of increased official activity by the Kenya Film Classification Board to regulate content.

Music lyrics and videos, intrusion into people’s private lives and sexual content on TV all received a 78 per cent disapproval. A large section of the audience feel radio programmes are getting worse.

A majority of the 2,166 respondents (76 per cent) are unhappy with stereotyping, which they believe is getting worse in the media. Portrayal of sex got a 74 per cent disapproval. Also, respondents had a big problem with advertising as well, which they gave 72 per cent disapproval.

“The amount of airtime allocated to political propaganda and the rates to be charged for it shall be consistent to all parties and candidates,” the code declares.

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